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I Don't Care Much for Myself Tonight

Emma

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I spent the evening with three girlfriends at a dinner show in downtown Seattle. I should have had a better time. I wore my new burgundy REI sweater dress, fleece-lined leggings, and a silver necklace. If I do say so myself, I looked nice. Nice that is, for me. 

I'm not sure I should be writing this at all. After all I'm a moderator here. Aren't I supposed to be like a Camp Counselor who always knows the right thing to say, the right thing to do? That's what it seemed like when I went to camp, about fifty years ago I guess.

My divorce from my wife is final as of about a week ago. We still talk, we love and miss each other, and I think we will always be in each other's lives. But nonetheless we are divorced. 

I feel like I should be looking forward, excited about the future. Instead all too often I am so envious of women who get to just be what they are. Sure, they aren't perfect either. But their hairline isn't all receding, they have at least some sort of waist, and their voices are naturally feminine. And oh yeah, they don't have beards. Today I saw my electrologist for our weekly appointment. This week we were scheduled for only an hour because the dentist in the adjacent office is on vacation. She started working on my side burns but after 40 minutes I had to call it quits. It just hurt too much. I couldn't take it any longer. I guess I have another couple of years worth of appointments to look foreword to. 

I'm so blessed and so lucky and yet I feel so blue. I feel guilty for that, like I shouldn't feel this way. But we know that everyone's feelings are valid. I should approach them mindfully, accept them, don't fight them, and in fact, embrace them. Use them to help point the way I should go, don't let fear and hurt drag me down. If it were that easy...

The good news is that I adopted a two-year old cat about a month ago, Peanut, whose photo is below. She seems to like me. I like her too. 

Bookshelf_Peanut.thumb.JPG.a5a508609d111



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In regards to pain of electrolysis, back when I was undergoing treatment I learned that not being well hydrated would cause discomfort. In recent months I've been having facial dermaplaning done which is extremely painful if the technician is not well versed with preparing their patient as what happened to me several years ago when I first underwent the procedure while in recent times the technician uses a completely different numbing agent and no pain is felt for the most part and even when felt is manageable. I would think (knowing that I've had my face done) the same pretty much applies to having facial hair removed. And the dentist numbing for me was a must for my upper lip area.

What we go through to look feminine and even for cisgender females, men have no clue :)

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Excellent point, Karen, thank you. My electrologist has said this too and I forgot to take care that I was well hydrated. 

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Emma,

I'm sorry you're feeling down 😞 I certainly don't think you have anything to feel guilty about, moderator or not. Hopefully sharing helped a little, and it will no doubt help others to see the full range of experiences that we go through in transitioning (and life in general!).

Having a divorce finalized is tough - I went through that awhile back too. In my case the divorce was prompted by my coming out as a gay male, it left me with a lot of guilty feelings.

I hope you're doing ok!

Xoxo

Chrissy

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Big hugs to you Emma. We all go through emotional struggles and the holidays can intensify those emotions for many of us. It's just fine to have a moment where you're not  "all together." I have plenty of those times.

Love the beautiful cat! They make great companions. 

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Hi Lori and Chrissy,

Thank you so much for your kind support. I feel better today, pretty much back to my old self. Depression like that is so uncomfortable but I guess it's common? I went out with a girlfriend last night for a glass of wine; her companionship helped me a lot. She also bought a Christmas present for me: a Glassy Baby candle "jar" (I guess it's called) that is hand blown. 

I have been wondering where my depression comes from. It all feels the same. It might be the hormones but for some reason I don't think so, at least not yet. Yes, I feel sadness about my divorce and some loneliness too. I do think that overall it's my gender dysphoria rearing its head. It's as if the euphoria that I've been experiencing the last few months has died down and I'm left with "okay, now what?" 

I've often read that many people realize during their transition that it's no panacea, they carry the same baggage they had before, just in a different gender. Honestly, I expected that. But then again it seems like a shock to feel the way I have been. 

Thankfully I have a meeting scheduled with my therapist this Wednesday morning. Lots to talk about!

Best wishes to all and hopes for a wonderful 2018,

Emma

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it'it's definitely true that transitioning doesn't fix everything that might have been "wrong" before, but I think it's also true that living authentically can make it a lot easier to work through those things. I thought back over 2017 myself and realized that where before I just felt "not right" I can now see more clearly what things I need to work on, and also to recognize my strengths, all of which makes me more confident in my ability to grow as a woman and as a person ☺

Happy new year!!!!

Xoxo

Chrissy

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The thing with being a constant cheerleader vs. being real is...you present a false image of perfection that other people believe in and wonder why they can't achieve.  I firmly believe showing both the good and joyous as well as the down sides does far, far more good for others.  There is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone that things go wrong in life, and we're not along in our negative feelings as well as pour positive ones, and we're not along that it's hard.  I think only ever being positive and happy is too easy, to unreal and unattainable, and actually potentially damaging to people who wonder why they can't attain that endless perfect happiness.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  And one overriding theme I have learned about in my 'what is this all about' is that the entire thing is living authentically.  Authentic isn't always good.  It's real.  ti's up, down, hard, easy, joyous, sad, frustrating, hopeful, it's the whole package.  

There will be time to be excited about the future after you've had a chance to settle your feelings.  A divorce is a huge thing, even for people who want it.  Endings are never what we think they will be, and we always have to process our feelings about them.  And there is a world of difference between what we think it will be and we will feel and what actually happens.  You did the best thing you could do. You got dressed up, you went out, had as much fun as you could, and it's okay if you don't feel super happy right now while you're processing.  Some days will be amazing, some will be sad, but you have to just feel your way through them to get the full human experience.  Dont' beat yourself up about what you think you should be feeling, just feel what you do and do the best you can with it!  :)  ​Fighting the blue feeligns in my experience just makes it worse.  Talking them out and pushing through them worked for me, just find what works for you and go for it! *hugs*

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Being a moderator just means we have to set an example, as in following the rules... stuff like that.  Doesn't mean we can't hurt, and come looking for someone to lean on.  The way I see it... our hurts and heartache ain't all our fault.  And it never will be until society changes for the better.

Big hugs to you, Emma.  I'm glad you're feeling better. 

-Michael

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Thanks to all for your kind wishes and advice. Makes a lot of sense to me. I was surprised to see that my photo of Peanut was gone so I re-added it. 

Yeah, I'm feeling better. It's funny how our feelings come and go. My wife called me on New Years Eve while she was driving to a friend's for dinner. I was I'm bed, reading, and she heard the sadness in my voice. She called me back yesterday morning to check in which helped. I had cooked a pot roast on New Years that I bought at Trader Joe's. It didn't taste nearly as good as hers. It was overdone and tough. She told me how to cook it even more at a very low temp for three hours, in a bath of wine, mushroom soup (Campbell's) and beef broth. Wow, it was much better last night and I have another serving ready for tonight. She called me again yesterday evening to see if I was okay. 

My therapist has advised that I need external affirmation way too much and I think she is correct. I wrote a list of self-affirmations that I slowly read to myself every morning in the hopes that I'll develop more internal resources for when I need them. I do it but I'm not sure it helps much. I think we know that this mental stuff is pretty challenging. 

I also read this to myself every morning: A Guide to Fear Mastery It helps, but doesn't help much when I am feeling so low. I do subscribe to the notion that mindfulness is a good practice. But wow, is it easy to say and hard to do!

Love to all,

Emma

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Hello Emma,

I care about as you have cared about me.

I noticed you were having issues with your electrolysis.  When I last had it done, the better electrologist (However more expensive) I went to used a cooling gel and it helped a lot. I had my chest done my face and my legs. It was expensive and I quit the treatments when all my dark face hair was gone.  I took electrolysis for about two years.  I still have about 3000 hairs left on my face as I even plucked the remaining ones a couple of times, but they are all white and easily shaved and when shaved I have no shadow at all.  So the electrolysis was worth it.  I share your issues with losing hair.  In a few weeks I will be starting hair therapy. 

I also go to a therapist and the goal is currently to help my marriage while accepting that I am Transgender.  Have I not been trying to salvage a happy home relationship I am sure I would transition completely. 

So I am hoping and thinking about you and your path - some things we share and others not - wishing you love and support along your way.  Dawn

 

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Hi Dawn,

Thank you, it's so nice to hear from you. My electrologist does use a cooling gel, and I also have a prescription novocaine gel (but I'm inexperienced using it and will keep trying). She's also said (as Karen did) that I need to be well-hydrated. Indeed, that will be a focus for me tomorrow before my next appointment. Tomorrow I'll be receiving injected novocaine from a dentist for my upper lip. She's cleared it once before but more hairs need to be cleared of course. I'm lucky that my beard is fairly light so that a cosmetologist told me that I don't need to have a beard cover; just a good foundation is fine. No way will I have anyone do this hair removal on my chest or legs! 

I'd love to hear more about your hair therapy, what you are doing and how it works and so forth. Last night I had a FaceTime with my ex-wife and we talked about my hairline. She also has a high forehead so she has her advice which is to part my hair on one side and then have a sloping bang across the forehead. She's coming to visit in a couple of months and we promised that when she's here we will go see my salon lady and get a consultation. It's not a huge rush for me. I really just want it to be longer. Now it's down to the tops of my shoulders and I'd like it to be at least 6-10" longer before I have it styled. Patience!

I also wanted so much to stay married. About a year ago my wife told me that we needed to get divorced because without that she was sure I could never really become my authentic self. That was about the most loving thing she could do for me. It really tore her up, me too. Over the year I realized how correct she was. And recently I understand more about why, which is that I have always been saddled with a need to try to manage the feelings and happiness of everyone around me. So my coming out and being authentic really flew in the face of that with me and my wife. This is something I'm working on with my therapist now.

Honestly, I don't know what complete transition is. Maybe it's different for each of us. At the moment for me it's comprised of:

- Coming out as transgender to pretty much everyone. That's a big transition in itself!

- Full time presentation as a woman in public, at home, everywhere. I'm building a pretty good wardrobe and makeup skills. Occasionally I notice the unworn (for months) male clothing in my closet; I'll soon be donating them to Goodwill after choosing what will stay (some are pretty handy) and, after taking a deep breath, loading them in the car for that one-way trip...

- Working on achieving a feminine voice. Gosh, it's hard but I really do seem to be learning. My voice therapist (whose name is Sandy Hirsch, she wrote "The Book" if you will on voice therapy and is a frequent conference speaker) gives me props for how much I've achieved. Part of my achievement is coming to an improved motivation for wanting to have a feminine voice. Originally it was about trying to just blend, be recognized as a woman. Sure, that would be nice but I tend to think that although my visual presentation is nice and my stature isn't too big, my face tips people off that I'm a trans woman. Now, I'm fine with that and I just want my voice to be more "authentic" if you know what I mean. For me and what I need, not for others.

And that may be all that I'll do. I'm not sure if I want GRS for anything more than to avoid a small bulge under my skirt - which isn't much noticeable if at all. Same about FFS. That may have a higher priority for me. Breast augmentation? Maybe, but I'd be very happy if I just have size B's, or maybe a little smaller is okay too. 

I suspect that the big thing for this year (maybe the Fall?) will be to start legal name/gender change. I have a credit card now in my name and I love that. I'd like my drivers license, passport, and all that to be aligned too. I'm a little scared about it and I don't know why. I have so much going on now though that it's not a priority!

Love,

Emma

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Dear Emma and Friends,

We ALL have "down times" and feel the "blues."  Sometimes we don't always know why.

When I feel blue, I go to a comedy club (I sit in the back because I don't want to be part of the show when I am blue) and it really helps me.

Just a suggestion.

Thank you for being there for all of us!

Your friend,

Monica

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Dear Emma,

Absolutely love your latest photograph of "Miss Peanut."  

Wish I could have a pet, but I can't due to allergies.

Thank you for being a wonderful friend!

Yours,

Monica

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I am late in commenting, but I feel for you, Emma. Life is a roller-coaster, isn't it? Another Grateful Dead lyric: Sometimes the light's all shining on me, and sometimes I can barely see. You know it will get better. Keep on pushing. Big hug in the meanwhile.

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Thanks to Monica, Michelle, Dawn, and everyone,

As I ran an errand to Lowe’s today I thought about how much better I feel today than some days ago and I can’t explain what’s different. In some ways with experience I feel less anxious about presenting as myself and that helps. Maybe it’s also that I’m making some new connections here locally. Perhaps also I am making slow progress on my house, yesterday re-hanging a bathroom door after refinishing, it looks awesome!! 

Or maybe it’s partly due to my therapist’s suggestion that I keep a daily “Awe List” where I’m to record things that I stand in awe of each day. I’ve been doing that since last Wednesday. It’s fun to play that game of wanting to add things to the list. 

I don’t know why but maybe it doesn’t matter: I’m feeling a lot better!

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